I enjoy building memories with my family, especially through travel. Although we have yet to venture off to a far land as a family, we still manage to find fun in cities in our home state, as well as neighboring states. Over the last couple of months we have had a handful of road trips to Midwest towns and cities. Our trip to Indianapolis was packed full of memorable moments and our visit to Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, Ohio allowed us to grow in so many ways.
Most recently we traveled to Champaign, Illinois to celebrate my grandmother’s 80th birthday. Although only a little over four and a half hours of a drive, it was the furthest distance we have driven with our toddlers. For most of our road trips I plan ahead, beginning my planning at least a week in advance. Having organization during road trips with kids is essential and it all starts with remembering the must-haves.
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My 4 Must-Haves for Road Trips with Kids
1. Manageable Hair Styles
When we travel as a family we are usually on a schedule. The last thing I want to do on a trip is spend a lot of time doing my daughters’ hair. A day or two out, I make an effort to wash and style their hair into easy to manage styles, one that does not require several products or time to maintain. My favorite styles for the girls are braids, with and without beads, twists or pigtails.
Having something to munch on in the car is a must-have for myself and husband, so we are always certain to have a snack for the kiddos. When traveling you want to keep the snacks simple. Your car is guaranteed to get a little messy, but there’s no need to pack snacks that require a lot of clean up. Our road trip go-to snacks are pretzels, Gold Fish, grapes, cherries, granola bars, and limited amount of water or organic juice boxes.
3. Car and Hotel Activities
We always hope our girls will sleep the entire time we are on the road, however, that almost never happens. To get us through the sleepless hours, we allow the girls to pack a bag with books and small toys that will keep them occupied. I often throw crayons and plain paper in the bag to allow the girls to color and draw. The bag of activities also comes in handy once you get to your hotel or family member’s house. Toddlers have to stay occupied. And when sleep finally creeps up on them, neck pillows for them to rest on are needed to keep their little necks from aching.
4. Potty Option
My daughters aren’t quite pros at controlling their bladder, so when a woman at my church suggested that we pack our potty training chair (we use this one) on road trips, I said to myself, “Why haven’t I thought of that!?”. The idea is genius, because it helps us to stay out of disgusting bathrooms in gas station in the middle of nowhere. Be sure to pack wipes and a bag to dispose them if you choose to take your potty chair.
5. Extra Clothes
I’m sure you know by now that having a extra clothes in the car for kids is an absolute must-have for everyday, which makes it even more important for road trips. Kids are likely to spill their snacks, not make it to the potty on time, etc., and it’s best to be prepared for those moments. You don’t want the kiddos to show up to grandma’s with juice stains all over their clothes. 🙂
BONUS: Kid-Friendly Lodging
If you aren’t staying with family, then finding a kid-friendly hotel should be priority. Things like extremely clean rooms, a mini-fridge or small kitchen, and seating area are important to me. They just make a stay with children less stressful and more like home.
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What are your must-haves for road trips with kids?